Competing priorities, conflicting outcomes : international peace interventions and conflict transformation in Somalia.
Most studies on the role of international actors in peace processes tend to focus on mediation and applications of incentives and sanctions. This study deviates from these general trends and focuses on how the interests and fears of the international actors affect the progress and outcomes of a peace process and subsequently conflict transformation. Using post-2001 peace processes in Somalia as the study case, the dissertation notes that international actors‟ interventions, particularly in collapsed states, are inspired by concerns over the trans-border implications of the conflict, moral imperative or third party intervention interests. Thus, mapping the interests of the main international actors who were involved in these peace processes and analysing their impact on these peace processes‟ outcomes are the core objectives of this study. The central thesis is that assessing the impact of these interests on the progress and outcomes of the peace processes entails evaluating their effects on the transformation of the Somali actors, their relationships, their socio-political and economic institutions and the narratives and discourses that premise their interactions and social identities. The key finding of the research is that all international actors pledged their commitment to conflict resolution, peace and reconstruction in Somalia, but their competing interests and contending priorities undermined actor transformation, frustrated relationship transformation, hampered re-building of institutions and stymied transformation of conflict narratives. As a result, conflict and violence escalated. The dissertation concludes with a brief peace studies understanding of the conflict in Somalia, lessons learned from international interventions in post-2001 peace processes and some policy recommendations. Among the recommendations are harmonisation of regional interests, phased approach to resolution of the conflict, reframing of narratives and de-linking of Somali conflict issues from global discourses on terrorism.